This property of operations comes into play when ever you have a string of numbers that are either being multiplied or added. It tells use that the order in which you group or approach the problem does not really matter. For example: 3 + 6 +8 +2 has the same result as if you added the numbers in this form: 6 + 3 +2 + 8. The same applies to multiplication. If we were to multiply 7 with 5 and 4, we could arrange it as 7 x 5 x 4 or 5 x 4 x 7. The final product would be the same regardless of how we arranged it. Note that this does not apply to division or subtraction. As we move into algebra we run into unknown variables, but the operations are the same and this property has the same place. If add or multiply variables, it does not matter how we assemble them. For example, a + b + c = c + a + b. We make heavy use of this property to help us reorganize equations into forms that are easier to work with.
This solid and detailed section of worksheets will help you to learn how to use the associative property to regroup algebraic expressions, both in adding and in multiplying. This set of worksheets introduces your students to the concept of the associative property, provides examples, short practice sets, longer sets of questions, and quizzes. The associative property helps students transition into early algebra concepts and starts them thinking up that alley. The following worksheets will help your students to understand how to manipulate equations using the associative property.